Before ABC’s & 123’s
Learning is natural. Research tells us learning begins in utero, and continues on for the rest of ones life. When learning is self directed and meaningful, its depth goes far beyond anything taught. Children routinely choose their play activities based on interest which can reflect their personality, mood and recent experiences. It is through engaged play that children are learning and absorbing information and skills. Observant adults can take the opportunity to expand the experiences with concepts that fit. “I’m making a town.” Says Beckett, 3 , to his mom, as he connects duplo blocks. “These are same colors!” He announces, holding up two yellow bricks. He continues to gather more yellow bricks to add to his building. Unknown to him, Beckett is developing early math concepts- categorizing/matching. Understanding sameness is a concept which provides a base for other numeracy skills which eventually lead to understanding quantity and number. Teaching counting at this stage, has little relevance and does not build understanding.
“Yes, those are yellow bricks. I can see more colors that match, can you?” Beckett’s mom says. With a blue brick in each hand, Beckett says “These green one’s match too!” Mom: “They do match, they are both blue, where should we build the blue building?” The adult can offer expansion to the natural learning through play experience for a child if done in a non intrusive, respectful way. Almost always there are several developmental areas being stimulated through play. Emotional development, social development, and language development are also taking place in this scenario, also vital skills that ready a child for life. A child’s natural desire to explore, create, imagine, and engage, also known as play, provides the perfect conditions for learning of all kinds.
By Rhonda TeramuraPacificCare ConsultantCampbell River Region